Tim Harrington, newly appointed executive head chef at Lord's Cricket Ground, speaks to Janie Manzoori-Stamford about the challenges he faces
What events will you cater for at Lord's?
This summer, Lord's will host two test matches, a one-day international and multiple Middlesex CCC fixtures. On match days, the catering focuses on the players' lunch and tea, and corporate hospitality. In addition, throughout the year we cater for high-quality corporate and private functions across the variety of event spaces in the ground, including weddings, conferences, exhibitions and Christmas parties.
How is your time divided up?
In terms of revenue, approximately 65% is achieved by catering for cricket events, and the remaining 35% comes from non-match day events. However, in terms of time spent planning, the figures are probably reversed.
How does your role differ from those you've had in the past?
On major match days, 3,000 people are fed at Lord's, sometimes over five consecutive days, which can be very demanding. Outside of the cricket season, emphasis is placed on our high-quality events which are more evenly spread.
It is this diversity that sets the role apart from any of my previous positions. Planning is essential as we must maintain our high standards regardless of logistical challenges. My experience of volume catering at the Royal Opera House and Linklaters has certainly prepared me for these types of challenges.
What sort of food do you serve to the players?
The players, particularly touring sides, often have various dietary requirements so we have to ensure that the food is of a high standard and that it is as fresh and healthy as possible.
On today's menu we are offering butternut squash soup, lamb koftas and grilled chicken - all served with salad and vegetables. We have a great reputation at Lord's for serving the best food in the game.
Why did you opt to work in volume catering rather than a restaurant?
I completed an apprenticeship in the Royal Air Force which was my first experience of catering for high numbers of people. Ever since, I have enjoyed transferring these skills in a variety of subsequent roles.